Civil Rights Coalition Launches Day of Action in Support of Electoral Security and Modernization
Washington, DC – Today, a coalition of eight groups: Voto Latino, The American Federation of Teachers, The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, Mi Familia Vota, Supermajority, Women’s March, and Demos will engage in a day of action, urging Senators to include robust electoral security and modernization policies in upcoming legislation. As the country moves closer to November’s general election, it is critical that voters can exercise their constitutional rights and feel confident that their health and safety are protected.
“Now, more than ever, it is crucial that the right to vote be protected. There is too much at stake and we must make sure our elected officials are accountable for their handling of this crisis,” said María Teresa Kumar, Founding President and CEO of Voto Latino. “Today, we are calling on the Senate to guarantee that–come November–both the ability to cast a ballot and the health and safety of the voters are protected. No one should be forced to choose.”
“We have fought for over 250 years, including a revolution and a civil war, for our citizens to have a voice in this democracy and a say in our future. Many have sacrificed mightily to strengthen and expand the right to vote; we must not backtrack—not in normal times and not in times of great crisis. It is especially vital for Americans to participate in the political process, particularly in times of upheaval,” said AFT President, Randi Weingarten.
“The reforms we need in the midst of this pandemic are the same changes we’ve long needed to dismantle the structural barriers locking Black and brown voters out of full participation in our democracy,” said K. Sabeel Rahman, president of Demos. “By making online and same-day voter registration universal, expanding vote-by-mail systems and ensuring it is racially equitable, and securing in-person voting we can protect the fundamental right to vote for millions of Americans in 2020 and beyond.”
“During this unprecedented time, our government should be working to establish safe, innovative, and accessible voting procedures before the November election. With 82 percent of women saying they would like the government to provide alternatives to in-person voting, the government should listen and act,” said Cecile Richards, co-founder of Supermajority. “If we do not have safe procedures for the November election, we risk having thousands of voters disenfranchised, especially in communities that already experience voter suppression. The government has an opportunity and an obligation to ensure that the wellbeing of voters and the integrity of each vote are top priorities by supporting fair and safe elections.”
“Our communities are facing challenging times, we must meet them where they are. While also using these challenges as an opportunity to strengthen our democracy, not weaken it. In the midst of helping our communities we are fighting to make the necessary reforms to make voting easier for everyone, said Hector Sanchez CEO and Executive Director of Mi Familia Vota. “The robust electoral security and modernization policies presented by this coalition will help us meet the challenges of this moment head on. No one should have to choose between voting and their health this November.”
“Today we think of the women of color, people of color, women, and allies who put their bodies on the line to secure us all the right to vote," said Rachel Carmona, chief operating officer of Women's March. "The battle against disenfranchisement is far from over, and today we are advocating for a better future. No one should have to clear hurdles to be able to practice the right to vote. This pandemic has exacerbated the inequities that have persisted in our country for far too long, and when it comes to expanding safe, secure, and universal voting the solutions are clear. We need to center equity as we implement systems that protect the vote like online and same day voter registration, and vote-by-mail systems. The time is now.”
"As we've seen during this pandemic, pre-existing structures did not work for all of us. Economic divides and racial inequities have multiplied the negative impacts of COVID-19 and made access inequitable. This nation's voting systems are the same: we need to affirmatively build up better structures," said Alvina Yeh, Executive Director of the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance (APALA), AFL-CIO. “Decisions have been made FOR frontline workers and communities that increase COVID-19 deaths every day. Congress must, at the very least, protect the right to vote, so that we all have the power to make this critical decision in November."
"If we are to have safe and inclusive elections, it is incumbent upon all of us to ensure the most vulnerable populations have unfettered access to the ballot box amid COVID-19 and beyond,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. “Full voter participation is essential to ensure elected leaders and policy decisions meet the needs of the community. Early voting, vote-by-mail, and other democratic considerations must be adopted in order to engage citizens, increase participation, and ensure the safety of the public. If we start now, we can protect our people and protect our democracy."
The integrity of our nation’s elections must not be called into question, even in the face of COVID-19. This is why the aforementioned organizations are demanding common sense and effective reforms to be put in place with enough time for the states to enact them. Follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #ProtectOurVote.
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